Rick Owens Men's Spring 2018

PARIS HEAT: Fans and bottles of water were de rigueur at Rick Owens’ show, as actress Gabrielle Union, husband Dwyane Wade, and his fellow athletes James Harden and Jimmy Butler left the comfort of air conditioning to sit outside around the basin of the Palais de Tokyo.

“The fashion and the temperature are pretty hot,” said Harden, who had Valentino and Yohji Yamamoto on his schedule this week. “I’m used to [hot weather] though — I went to school in Arizona and live in Houston.”

The fashion-forward basketball star, clad in Owens and Yeezy Sply 350 kicks, is working with Adidas on a lifestyle collection, and was looking forward to soaking up the vibe from the runways. “It’s an opportunity to see in person,” he said. “Hopefully, I can meet Rick and share ideas.”

Fellow basketball player Butler was also taking notes. “I’m eyeing everything. [His] style is so unique that you can take a lot of this and make it into something that fits [you],” he said. “I’m always looking to stand out. What Rick Owens brings to the table is amazing and fits me.”

Wearing a structured caramel-hued Ellery outfit, Gabrielle Union had not come prepared for the weather. “If I’d known, you’d be seeing me frolicking in a bikini in the water basin,” she joked, fanning herself. “When our president pulls out of the climate change [Paris accords], I feel this is a direct response from Paris.”

Union and husband Wade came to Europe on a surprise trip for their 10-year-old son, who had Italy on his bucket list, but the actress embraced the opportunity to look for inspiration.

Rick Owens was one source of inspiration, as he “pushes the envelope. You can’t help but get [what his subtext]. He’s painfully different, in the most beautiful way. He challenges us to use a different side of our brain, to appreciate the art. There’s always a message, if you think. But we’re lazy, we always go for scandal first,” she said.

The streets also provided inspiration, particularly the diverse facets of Italy and Paris that thrive through immigration. “If you embrace immigration, there is beauty in so much diversity, in seeing different kinds of folks and cultures blending so beautifully,” she said. “For a girl from Omaha, it was pretty damn awesome.”

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